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Ask Aaron: When to Harvest Root Vegetables?


I'm growing a few root vegetables (carrots and turnips) but I’m struggling to figure out how I will know when they are ready to be harvested. Do I have to dig them up to see if they are ready? - Beth

Hi Beth,

Think of your root vegetables like an iceberg, you can't see how much is under the surface until you look below, or in the case with root vegetables, to pull them out. However, you can get an idea of how mature they are based on how much the root looks developed at the base of the plant, where it meets the ground. With carrots, you can see about 1-2'' above ground, and turnips you can see usually 50%+ above ground. You can check the seed packet or information online on the specific varieties you planted to see what an estimate of the size of the mature vegetable, or if you remember when you planted them and check how many days the variety takes to mature, you can count out the days and estimate when they'll be ready for harvest. When all else fails, pluck out 1 or 2 and see how they look, and if they're not mature enough, leave them in for longer. You can generally get a good hold on the plant and pull it out by grabbing the base, where the root and stem meet, and pull it out from there!

Hope that helps, and happy gardening!

Happy gardening!

- Aaron French | Urban Farm Manager


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